Work with Passion: Four Reasons Why Blending Business and Life Rocks for Women in Agriculture

| 1/4/2013 8:51:27 AM

Lisa KiviristReality check for women farmers and those of us working to transform the food system: There is no “9 to 5.” There’s no beginning and ending office hours, no punching in and out of a time clock and no life that fits into neat check boxes of job descriptions and parameters either. We can’t pass a weed without pulling it and we can’t turn off that part of our mind that constantly brainstorms new ways to battle the squash bugs, blend the pesto, and blog about savoring that first strawberry. 

But in reality, we wouldn’t want it any other way. For us women farmers, our passions drive our work, something that fuels us 24/7 and blends those traditional boundaries of “work” and “leisure” into an energy drink like no other, driven by a collective spirit of wanting our work, our livelihood, to do more than just pay the bills. We want to transform our world into a better place. 

I offer this perspective as someone seasoned in the journey of kissing off that traditional cubicle job path. When my husband, John Ivanko, and I started off post-college in the early 1990s, we fell into that expected, well-worn, traditional career path: Get a job with a paycheck, work in a corporate cubicle, get so busy that you have no time to connect with the land or your food source.  

Feeling increasingly dissatisfied, we then consciously shifted our priorities when we moved to our Wisconsin farm, Inn Serendipity, where for nearly 16 years we have operated an array of green, diversified businesses, including running a B&B and authoring several books including Farmstead Chef, ECOpreneuring and Rural Renaissance. 

While typical career advice for working women talks about ways to “balance” your work and your family and personal life, I’d argue the opposite for those of us in agriculture and committed to sustainability: Dive in, work with passion, and take all the other important elements of your life with you. I talked about this topic at the “See Jane Grow” workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs. Here are four reasons why such blending yields strategic sense: 

1. Makes Savvy Business Sense 

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